A Political-Psychology Survey of the Key Candidates: Iran’s Upcoming 2024 Election

After the sudden and unfortunate death of Dr. Ebrahim Raisolsadati in the Varzaqan helicopter crash on 19 May 2024, the country went into a phase of shock and sadness; thousands of people took part in the Funeral Ceremony to bid him goodbye while being concerned about the future to come; based on the law article 131 of the constitution, the vice president is obliged to prepare the country for the presidential election; now, all the eyes are on the candidates and their plans; will there be a reformist at the helm or somebody who preserves the status quo?

  1. The Candidates: Who’s Running and What They Stand For?

As the 2024 Iranian presidential election looms ever closer, potential candidates are starting to emerge. A couple of high profiled figures have already thrown their hats into the ring, even though nothing is official yet. With this group you have people who have been in it for a while and those who just got here; they all bring different ideas about what should be done because of their unique backgrounds in politics and life, generally. Some want things to stay as they are – conservative hardliners – while others think that some changes may need making but only little ones – moderate pragmatists. Still more believe wholeheartedly not only in reforming everything but also doing so thoroughly from top down if necessary so as ensure maximum fairness throughout society – reform-minded liberals. Therefore there will be no shortage of promises made by any candidate on how best address challenges which range from economic stagnation alongside corruption through social unrest towards geopolitical instability.

Mahdi Sigari – http://www.ypa.ir/media/k2/galleries/552/%286%29.jpg CC BY 4.0

One of the most controversial faces among the other 80 registered candidates is the previous president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who showed up on the fifth day of the presidential candidacy’s registration; when it comes to Ahmadinejad, there is always a history to remember; It can be said that the emergence of a phenomenon like him was the most historical effect that the 9th election brought about. Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran at that time and was considered an almost unknown ordinary political figure. He was a member of the faculty of the University of Science and Technology (Elm- va- Sanat) and had the experience of being a governor in his career. Unlike Ahmadinejad, the rest of the candidates tried to present themselves as a different face from their past; Everyone showed this change of direction in some way, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf), was a military force until then; he entered the presidential race from the position of the Police Force Commander but then changed his police uniform to a pilot’s uniform and ran for election under the title of “Doctor Pilot Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf”! Another example is Ali Larijani who wore bright jackets and pants with the slogan of “Fresh Government” and used actors in his election advertising clips; at that time, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was still considered a traditional right-wing figure attacked by the radical reformist movement during the previous years (introducing him as a symbol of aristocracy and other related allegations). Mostafa Moeen was “the same Khatami”, and Mohsen Rezaei was trying to present a new version of “Mohsen Rezaee” in the style of Larijani and Qalibaf, who all had military experiences. Ahmadinejad was the most different faces of the 9th election, while some figures in the structures of power were unhappy with some events during the reforms, a person who had all the symbols of the revolution came to the field; He wore simple clothes, had a small and ordinary house and his slogans were idealistic: “A man of the people”; in other words, being a populist or not, Ahamadinejad knew how to make meaningful connection with the zeitgeist of the Iranian 80(s) Ahmadinejad’s second government was more strange than his first term; the person who came to office as “Maktabi”[5] and “Rajaee the second[6]” had the support of traditional and radical clerics behind him with a halo of light around him in the United Nations, a phenomenon of the third millennium finally became a political deviant. Ahmadinejad’s second government ended when Iran received at least 3 “sanctions resolutions” from the Security Council and the first jump in the currency price occurred in 2011 from around 1,000 Tomans to over 3,000 Tomans. Politically, Ahmadinejad was involved in a communication crisis with the leadership and some other officials. His 11-day uprising happened, he became the Acting Minister of Information for a while, he dropped the leadership’s ruling and created dozens of other side effects.

Ahmadinejad’s team separated from other fundamentalists, and even his serious supporters, dispersed from him and called them the deviants. The “deviant circle or movement” had three main members, who were Ahmadinejad himself, Hamid Baghae, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, and the rest of the “Ahmadinejadis” or “Baharis[7]” were defined around them[8].

With such a history and background, Ahmadinejad’s government came to an end; now, after almost one decade, he is trying to return to the political arena of the country; an unpredictable man with complex and complicated political psychology who knows how to make connection with a specific part of the Iranian society; all eyes are on the guardian council now to see if they endorse and approve his qualifications.

Author: Ellias Aghili Dehnavi

[1] Khabaronline, خ. خ.-. آ. ا. ا. و. ج. |. (2024, June 7). محمود احمدی نژاد وعده داد: به زودی همه چیز به تنظیم خودش برمی گردد /فشار بسیار سنگینی روی مردم است، حالا چه باید بکنیم؟/عاشق همه هستم. خبرآنلاین. https://www.khabaronline.ir/news/1916732/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D9%88%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B2%D9%88%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%87%D9%85%D9%87-%DA%86%DB%8C%D8%B2-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B8%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%AF

[2] Khabaronline, خ. خ.-. آ. ا. ا. و. ج. |. (2023, November 4). محمود احمدی نژاد از مُد افتاده است /تفاوت پوپولیسم احمدی نژاد و رئیسی. خبرآنلاین. https://www.khabaronline.ir/news/1832703/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%AA-%D9%BE%D9%88%D9%BE%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF

[3] در مورد محمود احمدی نژاد در ویکی تابناک بیشتر بخوانید. (n.d.). https://www.tabnak.ir/fa/tags/685/1/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF

[4] جهان, F. |. ف. |. ا. ر. ا. و. (2024, June 4). «محمود احمدی نژاد» جنجالی ترین بازیگر انتخابات ریاست جمهوری! Fararu | فرارو | اخبار روز ایران و جهان. https://fararu.com/fa/news/741395/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B2%DB%8C%DA%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C

[5] Believers in the principles of the Islamic Republic and its orthodoxy.

[6] It was a common belief that Ahmadinejad was similar to Rajaee in terms of behavior and political manner.

[7] A Nickname given to Ahmadinejad’s movement and their ideology.

[8] Khabaronline, خ. خ.-. آ. ا. ا. و. ج. |. (2013, June 24). جریان احمدی نژاد با کلید واژه «بهار» در سیاست ایران ماندگار می شود؟. خبرآنلاین. https://www.khabaronline.ir/news/300093/%D8%AC%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%DA%A9%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%98%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF